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How to protect leather

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When leather is new, damaged, re-painted or cleaned thoroughly, it might be necessary to add a new layer of protection. This protection prevents the leather from drying out, cracking, fading or suffering to much from general wear and tear.

Forms of protection

Protection can come in several different forms with leather. The layer of paint can be seen as a form of protection, however to maintain its looks, you would want to protect the painted layer from getting damaged as well. Leather can be covered in type of clear coat, it can be treated chemically to be more resistant to certain types of wear and tear and there are also products on the market that can give extra forms of protection.
This protection can come in the form of oils that helps to moisturize, hydrophobic properties to keep the liquids at bay or extra strong layers that withstand scratching better then the leather itself.

Why the need to protect leather

Leather is more fragile then some might think, and in its lifetimes, has to endure several types of punishment. Just think of all those days that a leather seat is trapped in the scorching heat of the summer-sun, and how the flexible leather can’t dry out and crack. Or all those hours with jeans rubbing over the surface, without the leather showing it’s wear and tear.
Having good looking leather is one thing, but keeping it looking good for many years is different story. Protection helps to keep certain types of wear and tear at bay and helps to preserve the look of the leather.

Different types of products

There a few different types of protection for leather.

  • Natural spray-on (liquid)
  • Synthetic spray-on (liquid or spray-can)
  • Leather oil (thick liquid)
  • Leather wax (paste form)
  • Leather coating (potentially based on SiO2 technology)
  • Leather cream ((thick) liquid)

The type of product you want to use is dependent on several different factors. Experience is one of the most important ones to be able to judge what product suits your needs the most. Many leather-specialists will recommend a certain product, but the truth is that each product has certain properties. And in some cases you’ll opt for a certain property, and other times you’ll opt for another property. For example, if cost is an issue, you’ll go for a different option then when you get carte-blanche and you need the most durable product on the market.

How to apply protection

The process is dependent on the type of product you choose.

Applying a spray-on product

  • After cleaning the leather, wipe it with a damp cloth
  • Spray the liquid on a clean MF towel
  • Spread the product over the leather and rub it in
  • Keep wiping till you hardly see any residue/smear
  • If needed, you can wipe it down with a clean and dry MF towel
  • This product can be layered for better performance

Applying a paste or cream

  • After cleaning the leather, spray a mist of water over the leather
  • Apply the paste or cream to an MF towel and put a few dots on the area you’ll be working on
  • Spread the product evenly first and then start rubbing in the product
  • Keep rubbing till the product has almost gone
  • Wipe off the area with a clean MF towel
  • If you get smear or the surface is very grabby, you can wipe it off again with a mildly damp MF towel

Applying a wax

  • After cleaning the leather, wipe it off with a clean and dry towel. Leave the area to dry for a few minutes
  • Apply the wax to an applicator pad or suede cloth
  • Smear the product over the surface, rub it in and spread it out
  • Leave the product for a certain time (check the label to know more, or ask the manufacturer)
  • Wipe off the wax residue
  • If the surface is grabby or you’ve got smear, wipe the surface with a mildly damp cloth

Applying a coating

  • Make sure the surface is clean and dry
  • Apply the coating to an applicator
  • Spread the product over the surface as evenly as possible
  • Leave the product to cure for a set time (check the label to know more, or ask the manufacturer). In some cases using a heatlamp or a hairdryer will speed the process up
  • Buff off the residue
  • If you get smear or a sticky surface, wipe down the area with a mildly damp cloth

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